Anxiety is an increasingly prevalent problem these days, afflicting everyone from stay-at-home parents to business executives. The term ‘anxiety’ is used to describe anything from an uneasy feeling to a full-on crisis such as a panic attack and so almost everyone you speak to will admit to feelings of anxiety at some point in their lives. The stress we deal with each and every day can simply become too much – pressure at work, stress in the family home, plus all the little things that life throws at us each and every day, can leave us feeling stressed and anxious. If the condition is serious and begins to really affect your quality of life, the only answer may be to take an appointment with your physician and talk about prescription medication and possibly some kind of counselling or therapy to get to the true cause of these unwanted, overwhelming feelings.
If, however, the anxiety is mild to moderate, it can often be alleviated, if not completely quelled, with time-tested herbal remedies. These combined with a good network of supportive friends and family can help bring you through a period of difficult emotions and help give you back a sense of being in control of your life.
The variety of herbs used for hundreds of years for the treatment of anxiety is truly astounding. They can all be taken in various ways, from infusions and teas, to oils, capsules and tinctures and each has a unique way of re-balancing the mind and body, bringing harmony and a sense of well-being. Some may provoke side-effects but not in the same league as prescription anti-anxiety medication, others shouldn’t be taken with certain prescription drugs and so professional medical advice should be sought, but you can be sure that for every person suffering from the distress of anxiety, a suitable and convenient herbal remedy is available that will help them forge their way to better mental health and confidence.
There are too many remedies to mention, but here is an overview of just a few of the better-known herbs:
Ginseng – well-known as a stimulant, ginseng is also a very effective anti-anxiety herb. Studies have shown that it balances emotions and helps the body heal from the damaging effects of stress and ensuing high cortisol levels. As high doses of ginseng can actually cause agitation, low doses are recommended for anxiety, gradually increasing to the optimum level.
Lavender – commonly used as an aromatherapy oil, lavender is also an effective herbal remedy for anxiety, insomnia and general stress.
Lemon balm – although native to Europe, this sweet lemon-scented herb is now cultivated all over the world. A member of the mint family, lemon balm is commonly used for its relaxing effects as it reduces anxiety and promotes sleep.
Chamomile – this herb has always been used as a tea for relieving anxiety and promoting calmness. A flowering plant from the daisy family, native to Europe and Asia, and also available in capsules, tinctures and ointments.
Passion flower – originally native to the Americas, this herb is now grown throughout Europe. Available in infusions, teas, liquid extracts and tinctures, it is commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
Skullcap or scullcap – an herbaceous perennial mint with glorious purple and blue to pink and white flowers. A popular herb for anxiety, skullcap is used to treat stress, anxiety, nervous tension and also to ease insomnia.
Motherwort – although native to Europe, this herb is now found in abundance all over the world although it thrives especially in wastelands. Motherwort is considered an effective medication for most nervous conditions and is very effective for relieving stress.
Kava kava – this south Pacific herb is well known for its calming properties. Kava helps to relax contracted muscles, soothe frayed nerves, create a general feeling of well-being, enhance concentration and generally ease anxiety.
Physicians and prescription medications have their place, but if your anxiety is mild to moderate, herbs can play a real role in allowing you to manage this debilitating condition without side effects and damaging drugs. Do a little research, visit your local health food shop and you could soon be sitting back with a soothing, steaming herbal tea that will gently and effectively calm your nerves and lessen your anxiety.
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